WASHINGTON “” Two senators chairing committees with direct oversight of intelligence and terrorist-related issues have asked the chief internal watchdog at the Department of Homeland Security to investigate the appointment of a top director at the agency and his brief suspension from it.
Faisal Gill, director of policy for intelligence at DHS, was forced to take a few days off in March after sources close to the FBI raised flags about Gill’s former position as spokesman for the now-defunct American Muslim Council. He was then reinstated, and Republican Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa and Jon Kyl of Arizona want to know why. They also are questioning why Gill is at DHS in the first place.
Grassley and Kyl sent a letter dated Monday to Clark Kent Ervin, DHS inspector general, requesting answers to a number of questions regarding Gill, who served in 2001 as the spokesman for the AMC, whose founder just pleaded guilty to federal indictments related to illegal foreign financing and immigration fraud, and admitted to a role in a Libyan assassination plot….
Aside from questioning whether this connection raised concerns among officials before Gill was hired, the letter draws attention to reports that Gill had omitted his affiliation with the AMC when he filed his employment application and requisite security clearances at the agency….
“Mr. Gill is reportedly director of intelligence policy in the Department’s Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP) directorate,” the senators wrote. “A person in such a position would likely have access to highly sensitive information about vulnerabilities in the nation’s critical infrastructure.”
The senators then ask: “What is the department’s policy for employees who omit information, especially information considered important or material, from their security clearance background forms?
“What are the Department’s general policies and procedures for considering employment of a person with previous links or associations to individuals or groups who are investigated or prosecuted for suspected crimes, especially terrorism matters or, who provides services to such individuals or groups?”…
But of course, this is all just racism, not genuine concern for our national security — says the leader of a group founded by Sami Al-Arian:
“I don’t think working for an organization like the AMC in of itself is a bad thing,” said Kit Gage, president of the National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom, whose founder, Sami Al-Arian is awaiting trial on charges he was a prime fundraiser for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an accusation he vehemently denies. Gage said the group has distanced itself from Al-Arian.
“There are always going to be people who are racist, who are anti-Muslim and feel threatened by groups like ours who do coalition work, because we stand up for groups that have taken on unpopular positions,” she added.